One month ago, I wrote about how Rams defensive tackle Greg Gaines had emerged as one of the most consistently dominant lineman to ever start next to Aaron Donald. A midseason injury to Sebastian Joseph-Day opened the door for Gaines to more than double his number of per-game snaps and I believe it’s no coincidence that Los Angeles has had one of the NFL’s top-ranked defenses in that time.
That’s only improved in the last month, as the Rams are 3-0 in the playoffs and playing in the Super Bowl in large thanks to a defense that has only allowed 55 points in the postseason; L.A. has only allowed three touchdown drives longer than 30 yards in the playoffs, one of those coming when the Rams had a 28-0 lead on the Cardinals.
Fans saw it coming though, voting Gaines as the team’s number one X-factor going into the playoffs.
Gaines is just one part of that machine but he’s a) the biggest part, physically speaking and b) the most likely to defer credit for L.A.’s success against Kyler Murray, Tom Brady, and Kyle Shanahan.
When Super Bowl LVI comes around on February 13th and the national media are asking, “Who’s the best interview?” and “Where are the great human interest stories?”, I’ll implore them to not miss the forest for the trees. Specially, the jolly Christmas tree and what does a Christmas tree do?
It protects the gifts and that’s a fitting role for a 25-year-old Gaines playing alongside Donald, Von Miller, and Leonard Floyd; he does his job and he doesn’t seem to ask for anything in return other than the opportunity to have an experience of a lifetime.
At least, that’s the feeling I get from Gaines when I read his tweets.
Want to pay him a compliment for being an exceptionally fast 312 lb human being? Thanks, but “let’s keep this semi-real” says Gaines.
Don’t forget “got juked by Tom Brady”— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) December 14, 2021
Worried for the health and safety of players taking too many drugs in order to get through a season? “Actually, it’s Tylenol,” says Gaines.
I took 2 Tylenol before the game chill out haha— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) January 17, 2022
Players spending too much time these days on perfecting their Instagram look and not enough time watching film? I don’t think that’s going to be a concern for Gaines.
Why do they always pick the worst pictures of me for these things....— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) September 17, 2018
Want an exclusive look at the new stadium before it’s finished being built? Don’t worry, a current Rams player’s got you covered.
All the seats look pretty good! Its up to you! pic.twitter.com/YXxzyMQzwq— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) June 8, 2019
Just want your favorite player to acknowledge you? If your favorite player is Greg Gaines, he probably will!
Thanks bro!— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) December 14, 2021
Want to watch mic’d up for the NFC Championship between the Rams and 49ers but only if the player with the mic is a current NFL superstar instead of a player who may be a future NFL superstar and/or TV personality and also wanna throw a subtle diss at him for “too much having fun, not enough leading” and kinda rudely tag him thinking that if you hide it behind a generic compliment that will help erase the fact that criticism like this actually isn’t constructive?
Greg Gaines will take it much better than I could have.
I said the same thing when they told me I was getting the mic this week ♂️— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) January 25, 2022
"They singing yo ho a pirate's life for me."@GregGaines99's mic'd up cannot be missed. | @YouTubeTV pic.twitter.com/toSJ7IBaBH— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) January 25, 2022
And if you want to take a shot at Gaines because you root for a rival college football team from his college football team, do your worst. But prepare for his best.
My favorite memory is winning the pac 12 championship and going to the rose bowl— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) January 25, 2019
And if you think he’s going to take the low road when the high road is available, think again. Or think a-Gaines.
Hey thanks man! I was just having a little fun didn’t think so many people would see it and start bothering you. Sorry— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) January 26, 2019
Greg Gaines slipped by 133 players before the Rams drafted him in the fourth round in 2019. It feels like he’s slipped by at least 133 offensive lineman for sacks and tackles for a loss this season. He may not say that because Greg Gaines could be the most humble guy in the NFL.
I can say that though because Greg Gaines is my new favorite
Beyond blessed! Officially signed my first NFL contract, and achieved a dream I’ve had since I was a little kid! Can’t wait to show the world what I can do! #signed #rams #larams #rookie @ Los Angeles, California https://t.co/6UIZ9TRNLq— Greg Gaines (@GregGaines99) June 7, 2019